Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Border budget may top a billion; local enmity rising over DPS poaching veteran police

The Texas Department of Public Safety this morning told the the House Appropriations Committee that it would like to stage six additional cadet classes in the coming biennium for "lateral hires" who previously worked for a local law enforcement agency at least four years. Each such cadet class would add $13.7 million for the biennium to put 40 officers on the beat, plus more in the out years to pay for wages, retirement, equipment, etc..

Rep. Cindy Burkett roughly calculated that would amount to around $40,000 per trooper per week, a figure which DPS Col. Steve McCraw did not dispute. He and the support staff with him attributed the cost to both the training expenses and the cost of equipping additional troopers with vehicles, weapons, computer equipment, etc.. He also noted that "lateral hires" would begin their service at a much higher pay grade than entry level troopers, substantially increasing the cost. The cost figures include troopers' pay and support through the end of the biennium in addition to their time in the academy.

McCraw mentioned again that local police and Sheriff's offices had expressed displeasure at DPS for poaching experienced officers, some of them less than cordially. DPS has only ever done a "lateral hire" cadet class once before and fewer than 30 troopers graduated. Regular entry-level cadet classes graduate more than 100 new troopers.

These new troopers are part of an expanded border security proposal unveiled in the House yesterday whose price tag will overshadow even the budget busting $815 million proposal in the Senate, likely approaching or exceeding a billion dollars. The House plan was unveiled yesterday when:
More than 30 House members, along with local officials from the border, stood up at a Capitol news conference behind what they cast as a bipartisan, wide-reaching and permanent solution to enhance safety along the border and throughout Texas.

The push — outlined in three bills — would add state police to the border, use retired state troopers to assist police work, toughen penalties for smugglers, build southbound checkpoints and create a border prosecution unit, among other things.
See MSM coverage from the press conference:
Meanwhile, the Texas Observer's Melissa del Bosque has written one of the first comprehensive journalistic critiques of the border buildup over the last nine months, suggesting that "The rush to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border has tragic consequences for Texas." Go read the whole thing, she's providing perspective on these issues that's sorely lacking in debates at the Texas capitol the last week or two.

Just a quick thought re: The National Guard. As the Statesman reported, "The rough plan now, as outlined by Gov. Greg Abbott, is to keep the guardsmen there until the Department of Public Safety can hire more troopers and handle the operation on its own." But Col. McCraw today reiterated that it would take four years for DPS to fully hire, train and deploy 500 new troopers, in addition to filling the 243 trooper vacancies on the books right now. It seems incredible/irresponsible to imagine Texas would continue to deploy the National Guard for that long, but that's where the debate stands at the moment.

See recent, related Grits posts:


The Comedian said...

What's DPS' favorite restaurant?

Why, "On the Border" of course!

Anonymous said...

Good for TXDPS. The county where I work has not given a pay raise in the last 8 consecutive years.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there is lots of pork on the menu 1:08...

Anonymous said...

Rep. Cindy Burkett roughly calculated that would amount to around $40,000 per trooper per week,

And someone said that crime doesn't pay.

(btw, her campaign posters are everywhere and it's March, 2015)

I predict that thousands upon thousands of Iraq & Afgan veterans will be wearing DPS uniforms, as the Vietnam and Korea veterans retire and die off. The PTSD claims will continue to excuse the killings of unarmed humans, ungloved fingerbanging and planting of evidence (as needed) as the courts continue to utilize taxpayers funds to pay off the victims families as the price of doing bidness soars. The retirees will be On-Call, explaining why they are allowed to have arsenals in their homes, vehicles and business. Those that cut them off, take their parking spot (including dogs that wonder on to their lawns will be shot dead dead dead as the hand picked grand juries continue to vote to acquit as instructed. Rinse & Repeat.

Anonymous said...

Will the DPS welcome the Gypsy Cop community with open arms and hide their past transgressions with typos and filings errors? Tune in next week when the Taxpayer's Tit exposes the truth and consequences of feeding the public in public. Hint, it's nasty and no there aint no exposed nips.

Hell yes. The clerks will be blamed and the DPS HR will tell the media to suck it (no comment due to an ongoing investigation. Case closed. Next.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3/04/2015 12:04:00 PM,
I suspect your prediction is wrong as those returning vets will have far better opportunities working for better paying cities across the country and federal work where they will be given preferential treatment.

Further, DPS does not have a lot of Korean War and Vietnam War veterans in it's ranks given their average age. A quick search showed the average age of a Texas Ranger (they tend to be much older than troopers) is about 44 years of age per their website.